The Written Submissions Process

The Written Submissions Process
If your case is not resolved at an early stage by case management, mediation, or a
settlement conference, the tribunal may order that your case be decided by reviewing
the parties’ written submissions rather than holding an in-person hearing. Some tribunals
will let you decide what type of hearing you prefer.
What are written submissions?
Written submissions mean that you do not appear before an adjudicator in person;
instead, you send a package of material to the adjudicator, including relevant documents
and a “legal argument” that explains why the adjudicator should decide in your favour.
An adjudicator may call you to ask for further information, or to arrange a telephone
conference with the other party.
Written submissions are a good alternative to in-person hearings if it would be expensive
to travel to the hearing location, if the facts are not in dispute, or if there are no issues
of credibility that need to be determined. Overall, this type of hearing must be practical
in light of the issues in dispute and the type of evidence that will be submitted.
Organize your material
Your written submission should follow the guidelines, if any, established by the tribunal
you are dealing with. You should always read the self-help information on the tribunal’s
website or call the tribunal’s office to ask for information about the process.
Written submissions generally follow this outline:
Start with an opening statement: a brief description of what your case is about
and a clear statement of what remedy you are seeking (i.e., what decision you
are asking the tribunal to make).
Set out the relevant facts, in chronological order.
Include all relevant evidence, including sworn statements from witnesses (e.g.,
affidavits or statutory declarations) and documents (e.g., letters, photographs, or
Explain how the evidence supports your case.
Include a “legal argument”, which explains how the law and the tribunal’s
previous decisions support your case, and include copies of the decisions you are
relying on.
End with a summary of your case, and state the decision that you are asking the
tribunal to make.
© Justice Education Society, 2012
From “How to Prepare” on
Review and respond to the other submission
Both parties will have an opportunity to read and respond to the other party’s submission.
This is done in one of two ways:
1. “Staggered submissions” are done in sequence. First, the party who is making the
complaint or appealing delivers their written statement. The other party makes their
submission and replies to the first submission within a fixed time limit. Then the first
party has a final opportunity to respond. It is very important to adhere to the time
limits set by the tribunal.
2. In a “simultaneous submission”, both parties deliver their written submissions to the
adjudicator and are given an opportunity to respond to the other party’s submission on
a specified date.
Review the other party’s submission to understand their position and how to rebut their
arguments. When you respond to the other party’s submission, explain why their case
does not tell the whole story, provide missing information, point out errors and omissions
that the other party has made, and reiterate how the facts of your case support the order
that you are seeking.
You cannot usually introduce new evidence at this stage of the proceedings, as all
relevant evidence should have been included in your first written submission. If you have
forgotten to submit relevant evidence at an earlier stage, you must get the adjudicator’s
consent to submit additional evidence.
If the adjudicator has further questions or needs more information, he or she may set up
a telephone conference with both parties or ask for further written submissions.
After the tribunal’s review
After the adjudicator has reached a decision in your case, the tribunal will send you the
decision, with written reasons. When you deliver your written submissions, you should ask
how long it will take for the adjudicator to make a decision. Due to the heavy volume of
cases to review, it may be several months before you receive the decision.
What if I don’t agree with the decision?
If you don’t agree with the adjudicator’s decision in your case, you can sometimes have
the decision reviewed. Some tribunals have their own internal review process, followed
by an appeal to an independent tribunal. Other tribunals’ decisions may be appealed to
the courts by a process called “judicial review”. The fact that you do not agree with the
adjudicator’s decision is not a reason that entitles you to review by the court — you must
show that the adjudicator’s process was flawed or that the adjudicator made an error of
law, jurisdiction, or fairness.
© Justice Education Society, 2012
From “How to Prepare” on